By Chris Elliott, Senior Economist (Apr. 18/16) – It’s still early in the year, but Canada’s overall economy began 2016 on solid footing. Here are a few highlights:

  • In January, the Canadian economy expanded for the fourth consecutive month with a 0.6% increase over December. This is the strongest monthly growth since July 2013.
  • Consumer confidence improved for the second consecutive month in March.
  • Month-over-month retail sales advanced by a stronger-than-expected 2.1% in January. That’s the largest monthly gain since March 2010.
  • Net employment in Canada jumped by a stronger-than-expected 41,000 jobs in March after declining in January and February.
  • The increase in employment lowered Canada’s unemployment rate by 0.2 % to 7.1%.

The Bank of Canada has upgraded its outlook, with real GDP forecast to grow by 1.7% in 2016. This is an upward revision from January’s call for a 1.4% expansion. The main reason for the upgrade is the federal budget, which will add $25 billion in spending on infrastructure and families over the next two years. Canada’s economy is forecast to grow by an additional 2.3% in 2017.

A stronger economy is good news for the restaurant industry, but foodservice operators remain cautious about the future. According to Restaurants Canada’s soon-to-be-released Q1 2016 Restaurant Outlook Survey, 56% said the weak economy was having a negative impact on their business, up dramatically from 37% in Q1 2015.

As a result, the share of operators who expect their sales to accelerate over the next six months came in at 32% in Q1 2016 compared to 46% in Q1 2015.

At the same time, 24% of operators in Q1 2016 expected sales to decelerate compared to 14% in Q1 2015.

The remaining 43% of operators expect their sales to grow at about the same pace.


   economist_chart_apr18_500x363Alberta remains the hardest hit from the economic downturn as commercial foodservice sales fell by 3.1% in January compared to a year earlier. This is the biggest decline since the start of the recent recession. Just 4% of operators in Alberta expect their sales to accelerate over the next six months, compared to 61% who expect sales to decelerate.




Meet our Long Term Forecast! If you’re interested in what’s to come in the Restaurant Industry, then join Restaurants Canada’s Senior Economist, Chris Elliott as he gives us a sneak peek preview of the economic climate in Canada in this short teaser.

If you’re interested in learning more, the full series is available here. Free for members!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *